tv Key Capitol Hill Hearings CSPAN April 25, 2014 3:00am-5:01am EDT
really, really pivotal question, and for u.s. policy, but before i turn it over to mary and before we start talking about that, and bruce hoffman tried to drive on the gw parkway, i gather, so he'll join us when traffic permits. before turning it to mary, step back and say, there's a certain amount of sound and furry on al-qaeda, whether we win or lose and how it's all going. there are things that are generally agreed upon, and then there are things that are argued about. what is -- you won't find a lot of people who will say that al-qaeda in the peninsula in yemen is defeeted, not a threat, not fighting, incapable, you won't find people who say that at this point.
you won't find them saying the islamic state, al-qaeda, iraq has not regained, obviously, we know they regained footholds, but the truth is they regained foot hots around iraq. no one argues there's large al-qaeda affiliates in syria. that was one of the reason given traditionally for why we don't support, i don't find it a persuasive reason, but that's an argument made. thatst a large and powerful franchise, and it's clear with operations in north africa that we have a vibrant franchise in al-qaeda, and so on and so on. the question of whether we have affiliates out there and whether they continue to be strong or capable is not really in question. the real question that our policy debates focus around is just the united states needs to
care. how much of a problem is it for us if these local groups do well or poorly, and is this something to be concerned about, and that is how do local groups relate to what the administration group calls al-qaeda core, the group around formally bin laden, after his demise around what is the role of al-qaeda core, even appropriate to talk about al-qaeda, and i flag that because that's what we will talk about today. i want to point out that that is an argument that's on, in many republics, on the margins of the question of how is the al-qaeda global threat doing these days? this is we're we're going to get into the inside baseball, but it's important when developing strategy. we have to recognize pretty much everyone recognizes that groups formally affiliated with
al-qaeda, like groups that call themselves al-qaeda franchises are doing disstressingly well. around the world. that is where we start and really where the debate begins. i'll turn it over to mary. >> thank you, fred. as fred said, one thing is around the world is in some ways al chi al-qaeda, and really question is, first, how much is this sorted with al-qaeda, and how much is associated with other groups that don't have organizational links with al-qaeda, and secondly, what should be our response to the problem? that's what i will focus on, but i outlined for you the begins
where fred said we face a much more difficult problem today than in 2011. 2011 began with so much hope with the arab spring and death of the maven who helped carry out 9/11. if you look at just two sets of illustrations in our paper on pages five and six, i outline and show growth in violent in the muse line up majority world associated somehow with al-qaeda, not just in terrorism, but talking about indeath penalty, but in insurgencies, and it's here where majority of the work for the paper was done back in the summer, and then i revised it again in january, and i show that there are now at least in january, there were
nine insurgencies when back in 2011, we were dealing with three al-qaeda associated insurgencies. a growth from three to nine from 2011 to 2014. actually, i was kind of calledded to task by a friend of mine who is an expert on the issues as well who said, redo that because we're now facing at least two more countries that are sunk deeply into insurgencies since i revised this, and that's libya and rest of egypt, and here i show sinai sunk in an embedded insurgency. as fred says, there's really no argument we're facing, and certainly since we're facing in 2001, when it comes to groups that at least have some sort of affiliation with al-qaeda i
beginning with the very tearful, you know, set of remarks on this i'm not blaming, per se, any administration's policies for the growth in this violence. there are all sorts of other factors that are involved in the growth of this, and remember the enemy has a vote, and the enemy has been doing things that have led to a lot of the increase in violence, and there's other factors that allow vieps to grow. please do not take that second section as pointing to any growth in violence. having said that, however, we have better policies to deal with the new threat we are facing since 2011. i point out, in particular, two
key issues, and i think in particular, you can look back and find roots for it in the bush administration, the suggest bush administration as well, that are preventing us from designing this with al-qaeda. how do we define the enemy? i think we have to, in order to understand where any administration is on this issue, look at what they are saying about it. there's the national security strategy that came out in 2011 for countering terrorism that quite carefully defines al-qaeda as three parts, al-qaeda, affiliates, and adherence. my concern with that definition was, obviously, with the first part, which was actually never defined in the strategy itself.
al-qaeda is al-qaeda. well, okay. what do you mean, actually, by that? i went looking for that definition amongst all of the statements made by this administration including heads of the cia, dni, mctc, homeland security, and a range of other folks to see if there's a clear, public definition to see what constitutes al-qaeda itself rather than the adherence, and result was i could not find a clear definition, but i couldn't find a clear definition until january of 2014, but by piecing things together from the statements and the way the current u.s. government understands the role of the u.s. in the world, i was able to come up with what i believe is the
official definition, and in january of this year, that was confirmed by a public statement by matt olson in the testimony before congress. that definition is that al-qaeda core, as it's sometimes calledded, consistents of all of those people who participated in some way in 9/11. if you go and take a look at the authorization for the use of military force, that is, in fact, how al-qaeda was defined legally back in september of 2001. this administration, above all else, is concerned with the rule of law, and doing things in a very legal manner. they've -- they have a sincere and firm commitment to that, and i take them at their word. that is what the amf, as it's
called, authorization use of military force, says about those people that the united states can use military force against, and so having said that, shouldn't it also include, perhaps, all those people who replaced those folks? who have been killed off since 9/11 in there's been probably several thousand people killed off by first the bush administration and this administration, and in their attempts to deal with al-qaeda, and i actually found a public statement that also says, no, in fact, people are not being added to that list of people who belong to this, and there was a statement, actually, back in march, that firmly states, we are about to strategically defeat al-qaeda because we're down to just a handful of al-qaeda members that need to be dealt with through attrition, that is through killing or capturing them. that's the official definition of al-qaeda itself. there's the view of al-qaeda
subjectives. subjectives are defined primarily in terms of u.s. national interests. that is, al-qaeda has its primary objective, kill americans and attack americans, but, in fact, if you look at what al-qaeda says about their objectives, you come to a different conclusion, al-qaeda itself says their goals are, first and foremost, to chase the united states out of what they term their lands, and, secondly, to impose a very extreme extremist and unique version of sharia on unwilling muslims, and secondly, great a shadow government, and, thirdly, overthrow what they call a leaders of their country, and then, finally, to create something they call the state, and most of what they want to achieve has nothing to do with the u.s. at all. it has everything to do with them imposing their will on the rest of the muslim majority
world and on very unwilling muslims. you can see this, as i do in my book, by taking a look back at what al-qaeda has been actually doing since the 1990s to today, and they've been focusing, vast majority of the efforts, on, in fact, taking over territories and imposing their extremist version of sharia rather than attacking the united states. the never commission report knows that 99% of the effort in the 1990s was dedicated to creating those to carry out extremist plans in the rest of the world, and only 1% was dedicated to attacking the united states. in my opinion, this second administration vision is also askew, which, in my opinion, also -- and i explore this in great depths throughout the book, explains why the policy that is based on these two assumptions is flawed as well.
i also want to see the u.s. be a will to take this fight from something that involves the military to something that is just law enforcement. that is absolutely my policy preference. i want to see our troops come home. i want to see an end to war. i don't want to see a militarization of something that does not need to be militarized. i affirm and support that policy preference and it underlies a lot of what the of masturbation is saying. i also affirmed support the need for partners who will be encased in a fight and not be dependent on us in order to carry on the struggle that mostly involves their country, their land. as an aside, the united states has lost thousands in this fight with al qaeda. a muslim majority countries are losing hundreds of thousands. so this is a fight that obviously we need to have
partners and people working with us. this is not about us taking over and running things. i affirmance support that policy preference. we cannot let our policy preferences drive reality. our definitions of what really is going on. i am afraid that is, in fact, what is going on. we are not looking first as a problem set and allowing that to determine policy, but what we want to be true, what would would like to see determiner definition of the enemy. getting those definitions right understanding who our enemy really is an understanding what his objectives are should be what drives our policy regardless of whether that leads to the kinds of policy preferences that we actually want. thank you. [applause]
>> thank you. i would like to follow up on your conclusion that we actually need to be understanding what the enemy is that is assigning al qaeda properly in order to have a strategy to fight it. and i think that take away that i got from your report was that because we have improperly defined al qaeda, we are only fighting a fraction of burned and if force and not only that but in no way that actually is in fighting the enemy itself. to me that sounds like losing strategy, and i think that what is most helpful is to talk through how al qaeda is operating, how it has adapted the some of our policies and why it is important we start looking at the network is often, the affiliate's, the associates, and 7n preventing yourself, a
different meaning the stanley bring in different light than been. in my report that i wrote in september is that the network itself extends across the muslim majority world, and it is their relationship between the different groups, affiliates and the core group in pakistan, affiliate's and the local group of thugs upon him there rely for resources, support, ben two are also at times just as dangerous as the affiliate's themselves, but make the al qaeda network so resilient woman. it is not have the wheel and spoke model that we have heard about before where they're is a central group that you can pound away, and once you get rid of that the folks will simply fall apart and become their own mobilized insurgencies are threats. it is not the starfish model
where it has spread its tentacles and a few chopped off one to do you have started to kill the beast in some sort of way. instead, it is this network that if you push down in one area, it will support itself and the will to pop up in areas where it has historical presences and all some move resources, fighters, expertise, france from one area and to another which is actually what we are seeing today happening in syria where all of a sudden see area reinvigorated the al qaeda network in a way that we have not seen since we were fighting in iraq. so what does that mean? that means that if we continued the only focus on the group's that pose the most direct threat to the homeland and only be at al qaeda corps or al qaeda in yemen we are not going to win
because in syria al qaeda is seeing that as a staging ground. it is the primal site for al qaeda today. but the al qaeda core leaders says a committee from pakistan into syria to us serve as a policy planning group to help support the al qaeda affiliate in syria to help it develop trainers, fighters, and policies on the ground in order ten seed victory. that is a very forward leaning organization, and that is an organization that is not covered today. but al qaeda sees a serious as something that will, in the end, bring about the islamic heritage which is where they dry out the apiology. the teaching, the setting the stage for what they see.
the other place where al qaeda has adapted is it no longer uses its name as a brand mark. it is certainly extremely powerful. we see it in al qaeda in the arabian peninsula, the group in yemen, the group that has a tap dance at least three times since it announced itself in 2009. but the two most recently recognized affiliate's have not adopted the al qaeda name palin nor are they likely to. one of the reasons is that the al qaeda name actually brings about an american action. in reaction to us simply naming a group al qaeda. and now will turn them to the region much as one of the best pieces that have seen recently. we just put out home a slide back in march available at critical fetes wish points at in
detail how these groups are operating, but you can look at al qaeda affiliate that has been operating car revolutionized how it is working. and as the conflict broke out there were local groups that began fred -- fighting. tonight connections to a al qaeda, never at a public relationship with a qi am, but uncovered correspondence from the associated press recovered which showed meeting notes where leaders were literally sitting down and figure out how to maintain their relationship and keep it covered. that means we have not caught on many people did not consider it to be part of the al qaeda network, but from what i can see it actually was the fighting force on the ground, and we have
tasked with governing the local be villages and actually being that local space that age i am does not have. it has gotten to the point now where when you look at who the leader was, he had been active and interacting for many, many years. he was not someone who simply of a sudden said, hey, i'm al qaeda now which is something that we need to recognize in our own policy and definition. they're is a group of leaders said and not operating under official al qaeda titles. we may not have the al qaeda numbers. the most threatening person. in fact, may be the leader of a group that seems local but his serves as a facilitator and
anita start thinking about the group's out by what they call themselves but by how they interact formerly with the network and what they are doing, what actions are taking to a surf al qaeda purpose and think of other groups as something that has changed today. we cannot let our strategy simply by. that is one of the key ways i have seen al qaeda adapt. has obscured its relationship, prevented us from reacting to its new-found relationship by hiding how its tentacles have actually reached out throughout. i think i am going to and their and leave it up to questions. i can talk at great length about how these groups are interacting and sharing resources and fighters in syria, yemen, somalia, west africa. but at risk of boring the audience.
>> thanks. the road that you made it through the washington traffic. thrilled to have you, really one of the best and most established experts on this topic. and really excited to hear what you have to say. [inaudible] >> these issues for a long time and no her thinking. one thing -- to things actually are quite unique about her work in this respect. anybody talking were speaking on this subject at all, there was a long time when there was very little discourse on al qaeda,
when supposedly the arab spring created a change where democracy possible protest, civil disobedience, the threat that al qaeda was seemed to be nonexistent. secondly, i think this is especially variable. even when people do discuss al qaeda or terrorism in general, so little of the conversation or the dialogue deals with strategic issues. this, i think, mary's strength given her background and also in her dissection and analysis of the al qaeda strategy which i think is absolutely critical and something that is also being neglected. let me just make a few observations in general that i hope will preface.
and then drop things together. i mean, the dimensions of the challenge we face today i best evidenced by the fact that that al qaeda presence caught twice as many countries are places than six years ago the the past several years we have been told that al qaeda is on the verge of strategic collapse and the feet. yet the movement, and enable the to do the impossible, agencies and bureaucracies across the world are shedding personnel and having to make do with less with reduced budgets. al qaeda has been able to reverse and grow and to expand. and i think it is not only the physical presence and the number of fighters, but we see that that al qaeda brand and ideologies has prospered at a time when we were more inclined to count them as having been
completely irrelevant, are at least that was a cliche around the time of the ad. and especially worrisome, not only the extraordinary expansion , but that the court al qaeda in pakistan has remained remarkably resilient, i think, to an extent that few people have imagined. you know, i have written on this often, focused on this, but much of the conventional wisdom of the past decade or more about al qaeda consistently incorrect on so many different levels. the strength of the court is yet another example. court al qaeda as always had a much deeper bench than we have imagined which is why the argument of a strategy that relies very narrowly are almost exclusively on attrition is not
one. still within the al qaeda core there are any number of individuals which most in this room have not heard of. veterans of the afghan-soviet war. at least three decades of experience and a credential to assume positions in the organization. a much this number. also, i think, what has enabled al qaeda to survive what has been the greatest onslaught in history directed against the terrorist group is its ability to constantly adapt and adjust and to overcome and obviate if not perry even the most consequential measures directed against it. and we see that changing demographic of the al qaeda core and al qaeda in pakistan with the stereotypical al qaeda fighter of the past was a posture in tribesmen coming down from the hills with bandoliers
of ammunition, satchels and toting an ak-47. yet to pakistan, means to diversify, insurer its longevity. it is increasingly recruiting amongst middle class, well educated pakistan is. in the months that number, just some of the pakistan is at half a cent increase -- increasing roles a promise. i think overall he has proven to be unfortunately in more effective leader than anyone imagined following the success of bin london. these have to contend with the challenge. and i think actually he has reasserted control over the movement that he still retains with his expulsion, but what
worries me not to have enormously is this immense emerge and rivalry between al qaeda core and the isil which i think this is going to lead to greater competition and we have seen historically. usually they become much more deep and much more active. also, i think, another, for me, development of the past couple of years is how al qaeda global orientation has had a residence basically across the geographical expense while al qaeda is active. seeing groups in north africa, west africa as well as east africa, all not only prosecuting those struggles, but very much into the al qaeda below will in geology and the whole world view
which was very clear. as i said, i want repeat what mary rights, but they think strategically which is why her work is so important. we need to think just as strategically. especially because i think we are really at a critical juncture or crossroads in our struggle. firstly, al qaeda is not only resurrecting itself, become much more relevant than we imagined it could have been a short space of time. because of the syrian civil war, but that will be in game changer . what katie and others have said, certainly the influx of foreign fighters is in and of itself alarming. i think the open source conservative estimates put this number 8,000. reports from our european allies
indicate of the past 18 months a steady increase, often exponential growth in the number of individuals going to syria. one thing that i think is misleading and even more disturbing about that figure, the foreign fighter. many countries are not counting their citizens or residents who are going to syria on humanitarian missions but providing critical, logistical help and assistance. so even that 8,000 figure is on the low side. even in the united states, except for the 30 or so somalia americans that went to somalia after 2008, we have never seen this concentrated outflow of united states citizens and residents going to a g heidi conflict. i would be hard-pressed to name more than a dozen. maybe on one hand basically the americans, chorale kind
publicized figures from the fbi, 50 americans who had gone over. perhaps, i think, the greatest challenge in responding to or in embracing the policy recommendations are at least 2-fold. in this respect, the greatest british foreign officer observations about the intersection of domestic and foreign policy in the united kingdom during the 1930's. left or right, everybody was for the quiet life. that is not so different here. on the hill speaking to a congressman whose constituency includes the new york metropolitan area. lost many of his constituents to
9/11 attacks, and he said that raising this whole issue of the al qaeda threat or even in voting 9/11, he sometimes feels like he's talking about gettysburg. the sun that is the first big challenge. second big challenge is very sensibly, and those who follow the al qaeda challenge and threat for the past decade or more have often argued that responding to al qaeda cannot be narrowly conceived as a counter-terrorism missions. it is about attrition, the israelis often say come mauling blanc. to really make an effect, as we have always argued and long known, a war of ideas, to make a difference, a lasting impact, one has to really change the dynamics of these environments. that, in essence, a strategic
approach based on counter insurgency, but i don't think there is any single word right now. as soon as he starts speaking about things like for an internal the fans, internal defense and development, the kind of combat operations in the fundamentally change in environment and prevent precisely this type resurrection or represses of terrorism. i think a more concrete terms of what we have to do is first step is much more proactively contain al qaeda geographic expansion and growth. in and of itself that is remarkable. containment policy when only a few months ago we were talking about strategic defeat or collapse. this entails a time when we really want to focus and words, the excellent articles, the new yorker reminds us of how the
situation in iraq has deteriorated since the withdrawal. it want to walk away from all of these places but it does demand greater engagement specifically our continued engagement in afghanistan, pakistan, yemen, syria. i think that it also requires more effective pressure on and negotiations with some of our closest allies in the war on terrorism. a lot of the problems in syria emanate along the turkish, syrian border. that means we can't completely turn our back on south asia. the afghan pakistan border. i think again, if anything more pessimistic, we have to be very seriously concerned about the threat of a terrorist attack somewhere, particularly i would
argue the terrorist attack involving a chemical weapon. reported as widely as it might be turkey and the iraq and elsewhere in the middle east, actual sarin nerve gas. that is too much of a cluster of incidents in a specific region and a short time. and, of course, the other al qaeda affiliates, the char all aside chemical stockpile which has become much more serious threat of terrorists using some unconventional weapon in the near future than at any time in recent years. a better capability, the potential expansion.
proven fairly in net debt that. the expansion and then finally, i would say, this is one of the strengths. she underscores the uncomfortable fact that the struggle against terrorism cannot be wished away despite all that and take -- temptations this is an ongoing challenge. al qaeda has strategic vision. [applause] >> thank-you, bruce. thank you to all of the panelists. i will open it up to questions. i want to adjust, a couple of thoughts that are spurred by this. the analysts can pick them up.
one is the question of the role of military force in strategy against al qaeda. i wonder if we have reached the point where we have a hammer and are looking for nails and have to find our strategy against al qaeda to be co expensive with the limits of the aumf because our mechanism for dealing with al qaeda has been attacked. we're looking said of the fact that should not be the 1-to-1 equation. there are one set of tools. we have not been talking enough. another thing that was remarkable that is not remarked upon very much, and i want to mention, the united states has created by policy piece her. the largest sanctuary for al qaeda that the group is ever known for who awhirl half -- we
have created an absolute from the standpoint of our attack in those two countries which is really rather remarkable fifth. lastly we tend to have conversations that are very focused psst. very narrowly scripted u.s. interests and it is important to be able to tie anything related to the discussion with the u.s. military force in any way to narrow the descriptive national security interests, but another thing and has been under very narrow approach to these problems has been of view that it is not our problem fundamentally, not for us to do
anything when hundreds of thousands of people are killed, when war is raging across large portions of an area of strategic importance and atrocities are being committed on mass scale. we need a compelling national security reasons separate from that to be involved. many to have people, including some in the administration suggest that it is in our interest to have a civil war in syria persist because has below was fighting al qaeda and how wonderful is that. of course the problem is morally reprehensible and indefensible. the conflicts themselves and magnets for radicalization.
we've made a mistake by going so far all these problems and we miss the fact that even a realist to have to realize the problems of some of these ostensibly humanitarian crises are creating. but that i will open it to the audience. our ground rules are, wait until the -- raise your hand, wait until a microphone comes to you, identify yourself, and frays your brief statement the form of question.
panelists thought about how that goes forward and on the one hand how the organization or even the network, core and the network deal with that and, yes, just how they see the dynamic of that . >> so, my reaction to the arabs praying actually has not changed from 2011 until today. i did a series of talks in 2011i outlined both of those. unfortunately and many cannot law, but many of the countries that experience such as a huge outpouring of help in 2011, we are seeing some of those fears
realized. in some cases it is because capable governance were replaced by less capable governance in counter-terrorism terms and in policing their own borders and in controlling the violence within their own territory. for instance, libya and, right now as far as i know does not even have a government. there is nobody to police the borders are to make sure the violence does not aspire. you first went the replacing of mubarak in egypt there was a lot of hope and that new democratically elected government, but violence was already spiraling in the sinai, even under more see, shows some kind of lack of capacity. it has really gotten out of
control since the military has decided to take over. so, again, a very capable partner is no longer able to police its territory the way that it once was. the one place there is more hope today, i think, and fear is gynoecium. even though you do have a group that claims are has some sort of relationship with the al qaeda ideology, so on and so forth, the violence has not spiraled out of control. there can still be hope. i do believe that unfortunately that was one of the driving factors. the release from prison of thousands upon thousands of people who had been arrested drove a lot of this violence as well in places like egypt. >> well, you know, al qaeda, much like everyone was knocked
off balance. the documents that were released overseas and a lot about that osama bin laden himself was very concerned. al qaeda had been much more adept than almost anyone. al qaeda was no longer relevant. it has not demonstrated relevance across more of africa. it is also, i think capitalizing are taking advantage of some of the developments, greater recruitment. they have been ran out of prison. i am not sure that we have a firm grasp on what the recruitment activities were like during this time when there were tremendous opportunities to recruit folks within the region and foreigners. al qaeda has clearly sees down what was one of the driving forces with the use of social media which is transformative.
it is a challenge as well colleges why i think there are now creating their own english-language magazine. nonetheless, when you see that individual foreign fighters online or are fighting under the black flag and syria, upwards of 24,000 followers. this is one of the best recruitment platforms that one can imagine dan is going to create a situation very different from afghanistan. i mean, the one bright spot as you point out is the fractional as asian, at least the end fighting, which i agree with. as i said earlier if -- responds , who the israelis have one of the clearest views of what actualization creates.
they view the fighting is not necessarily a good thing. so it introduces another element of uncertainty as being an extremely volatile region. it may not play out. [inaudible question] >> well, the court is partly -- well, two things. it is ramping up its involvement and attempting to demonstrate its relevance. one interesting changed when i was talking about al qaeda, pakistan a, lot more of the propaganda has been in arabic. nonetheless, that does not mean it has abandoned. i think that the al qaeda core
is biding their time and waiting to see what happens in afghanistan and what u.s. forces are left behind. and i think it is dead. it will become much more assertive. >> that's the end of that. on the factional as addition. they're used to be a commercial. when banks compete, u.n. in this case i would say when terrorist kids compete you lose. they tend to bid against each other for international support and recognition by doing the most outrageous things that they possibly can do in order to attract attention which is worrisome. i might disagree with bruce about one thing. i think some lori may have made a mistake in expelling as i've -- ssi as. well turn out to be bad because the last thing in the world i want to see are groups like isis start competing in a global
stage. the only thing that is not terrible about them is that they have been focused on their region. i'm not sure they don't win that dogfight over the long term, and i am not sure that he made a good call there. i think he may have misjudged the situation. a question from sarah. >> sarah chase from the carnegie endowment. fred can probably ask this question in my place. but i actually want to pick upon the notion that the egyptian -- current egyptian forces is simply less capable than the mubarak government which is why we are seeing an extension of al qaeda activating in egypt and from there go a little bit more abroad.
the question is, the same military, why are they less capable today? is it possible that there is something else about the current egyptian government that is driving the extension of al qaeda? so i guess where want to take this more broadly, when i have not heard in the discussion to date is whether legitimate grievances against local governments or their perceived packers are not only driving recruitment but some of the ideology. in other words, the description of of version of sharia which is aided by the population. that is not a recipe for success is there something else that we are overlooking and the behavior of some of these governments that we might be tempted to ally with further short-term counter-terrorism capabilities that may not be driving the
expansion of. >> i agree completely. so my comment about capability was not solely about ct capability our military capability. with the ability to find a political solution to the problems that they are facing as well and to include populations that might otherwise have grievances. the first solution that was chosen by the military to some of the popular uprising was a great deal of violence. i have -- i teach a class on a regular warfare where you can go back and look at the onset of the insurgency in multiple, multiple cases and find in nearly every case of a 20th-century and the 21st century of radicalizing which,
in fact, is carried out by the government in an attempt to suppress, in many cases what are perceived by people as being rifle grievances command it is the use of that violence which sets off recruitment, and a lot of people joining up with the insurgency in order to fight it. i don't want to make it sound as of when i use the term capability am talking solely about purely military capabilities, but having said that, on the third hand the release of so many thousands of egyptian and terrorists and people who had been deeply engaged with al qaeda and other violent groups early in the arabs during as well as the sort of loss of visibility about what was really going on in the sinai and the violence that ramp up
there was -- i think there was also a lot going on there that led by people who claim some sort of affiliation with al qaeda in order to, you know, take advantage of this permissive environment which led to a lot of this. >> it warms my heart to it here sarah asked that question. there are few people on the world to have more right to ask that question for continued to focus on it and sarah who was a crusader on this issue in afghanistan at great risk to her life, among other things. had the privilege of being in afghanistan with her for some portion of that time which was a highlight of an otherwise fairly dismal experience. i want to put a short point on that.
his agreement. i think that we, because we don't like to talk about counterinsurgency any more we have lost sight of the fact that this is an insurgency and you don't have an insurgency just because you have a small tiny cell people do are trying to do bad stuff and terrify people. you have an insurgency because i have a significant population with grievances about what is going on that a small, armed group, radical groups can take advantage of and fight back. we saw that in afghanistan. we saw it in afghanistan, and a predatory government. dropping a lot of people. and in syria we're absolutely seeing that. another wonderful case in a horrible way is iraq. it is not possible to question the degree to which the prime
minister approach to dealing with what started off as a peaceful protest movements among the population radicalized it and drove a very unwilling minority back into the arms of al qaeda. but the point goes deeper than that. this is not just about the use of military force on protesters or government escalating but governments that are themselves predatory in terms of corruption , isolating minorities that are excluding people from the franchise that are, in other words, being in ways that make them seem a legitimate. we as a country have been very reluctant to recognize that as a problem. we are especially reluctant when the state in question is supporting us when we are trying to use her hammer and looking for nails. i think that to bring this all the way around.
management issues of the past couple of years, could this be another fractionalized asian? if so, you know, is his inclination to pursue a more g hottest strategy? >> yes. it obviously express's a great deal of confidence that you can have -- i watched obviously the whole video that was put out. at least 100 liters or top people within al qaeda in the arabian peninsula out there, i'm not even sure we know if it is al qaeda on the arabian peninsula, but people obviously gathering together in the open and have a congratulatory
meeting about releasing some of their prisoners. that was the purpose. and to me it expresses confidence. does it shows something about fractionalized asian? in fact now member of al qaeda corporation, part of the central leaders. so on like, let's say prices who were somewhere down hierarchy, he is part of that court's now. and so i do not think it expresses fractionalized addition. this is a statement of confidence. on fractional addition, it is interesting to think about, you know, dealing with a terrorist group, competition leads to greater violence. when it comes to insurgencies it can lead to sort of better
outcomes as long as the two insurgencies spend all their time focusing solely on each other and don't use that as a competition and focus their guns on outsiders in order to gain territory or make some sort of statement for outside supporters one of the key counterinsurgency techniques that people sometimes attempts to practice is sponsoring insurgent groups. in some cases there is contradictory evidence. can lead to the final collapse of the insurgency come but again, there is contradictory evidence. what is most likely to happen, it will move down the scale if there was some sort of competition move down the scale to some sort of terrorist
activity in fight its way back up again, even if competition to its lead to the degrading of capabilities. having said that i have been watching carefully the public statements by people in support of al qaeda central verses statements of support of isis. and the result has been a very interesting change over the past two months from people lining up to support one or the other to a movement of those who once were supporting either a neutral stance or actually supporting al qaeda central. a first wave of people lining up to support the rebels, since then and now last month in particular there has been a movement in the other direction. i think it for me might be
seeing al qaeda central, out on top in this argument unfortunately. >> let me just add to what mary commented on, tension within al qaeda. i firmly believe that we are too focused on figuring out whether there are competitions into the top guy is an essentially waiting for someone to stick his head up high enough. that is not going to be effective. and actually, when you look at this he has been part of al qaeda since before 2001. he was then selected as a personal aide and eventually spent four years next ted osama bin laden before you was arrested, sent to iran and eventually got to see women worry earned his freedom.
we can flee to al qaeda core and court al qaeda meeting al qaeda corporation, a group in pakistan, the senior leaders that we generally think of as al qaeda and scored al qaeda, being as individuals who acted on 9/11 now dispersed across the globe all ascribing to al qaeda etiology and fight for this vision. and they can say this simply because he was in yemen that he was not part of al qaeda corporation when he is heading into does a 7-8. he has always been there. he is simply not formally part of the al qaeda core hierarchy. that to my think, is a very key point to make. if we are looking for guys to it there plenty of people is to get there head. begin finding out who has more power, al qaeda corporation, hq ap to my as is, but at the end of the day it is not who has more power. they are all fighting for the
same thing long-term which is will we really need to be addressing. >> just a brief technical note on the regular warfare aspect of this. i also lawless look at who believes they need to cover their faces and who has no trouble at all showing their faces as an expression of confidence in their own control versus fears of being captured or killed. in that video lots and lots of people have their faces uncovered and have no trouble showing themselves. again, to me, that is an expression of confidence. >> talking about the celebration of al qaeda pretty much across the muslim world.
and i wonder if it really makes sense to think of al qaeda as a manifestation of radical ideologies. anytime there is perspective group anywhere they had got that in theology and the rest of inclines to move forward with the similar organization. so i guess my question is does it make sense to think of al qaeda as a concrete entity that can be defeated or is it really, you know, a broader security problem that should really be managed as opposed. >> in the paper i give a proposed definition of al qaeda that i think it's up where we are really at an hour struggle with this particular crew. that it shares -- just very briefly i define it as an idea or an ideology and an organization.
i think the to go to gather. that is, there is an ideology that is behind what they're doing. in technical terms it is their al qaeda and a particular extremas version. a very unique version that you can power around the love and say those guys are al qaeda and they do not have an adherence to that al qaeda idea. along with that methodology comes an attachment to a strategy that has specific objectives associated with it. when people say ideology, i think they are imagining something kindness but see. the groups i am associating, it is actually quite specific. the ideology has specific things attached to it. the version of sharia that they support has very, very specific things attached to it that differentiated from any other
sort of ideology. there are strategy methodology is which have very specific things attached to it, and it does not matter whether you have command-and-control between these groups that have this attachment to this very specific ideology and of the core as everyone calls leaders because they are committed to the same objectives. and they will cause precisely the same amount of damage regardless of whether there is command-and-control. >> just to add to that i would lay out the challenge of finding a al qaeda affiliate that does not have any personal network that reaches back to al qaeda core or one of the affiliate's themselves. they're is a network. these groups are operating together, and there is coordination, sharing of
resources which comes from trust that is not built up by simply saying, i believe in it al qaeda ideologies. they're is a vetting process which we can see on a small-scale where they come in at times and are rejected because the credentials are not cut enough. they can also see that process coming out in the process of either naming an affiliate for trying to figure out who is part of the network itself. so i do think that is a conception we're going to have. it is a little bit wrong because it does have a network behind it but there is the ideologies. you can build that over time, which is why we need to be looking at what is happening today and not basing it on 2001. >> in the aftermath of 9/11 there is temptation to see al qaeda everywhere. i think this has led to this
very unfortunate believe that these are all local problems. west africa, north africa, they prosecuted by local groups that adopt the name al qaeda because they get more attention. that may be true in some instances. if you look at that document released a couple of years ago, al qaeda in 2004 had already identified nigeria as for town ground for expansion. over the. when they ceased to exist, emissaries, trainers, persons providing intelligence and facilitators, to senior al qaeda officers that were with cows and bob, we killed both of them, but that is not an isolated phenomenon. said al qaeda was active in making these connections in building the network.
going back to the previous question about the fractionalize nation, absolutely right to say that the split -- well, in an aggregate it has benefited court al qaeda because i s. il was quite active in its own emissaries. thisbe was unfolding. attempting to get various forces in the region over to its side and proved remarkably unsuccessful. everyone they approached, one exception to north africa gravitated toward reaffirming their allegiance to a court al qaeda and would not go over to the renegade group. the sophistication of al qaeda core networks in yemen, certainly in northwest and east africa over the past six years. we can say, they ceased to exist and are irrelevant and completely inactive. >> just with that particular
example because i think it was incredibly illustrative. faced a real dutch had moment because it was originally isis that out it formally as a al qaeda affiliate because until they did he have been claiming are not planning but had been trying to maintain a public distance. the civil war is largely a locally focused insurgency or had been. now it has been radicalized. originally it was a locally focused insurgency. he was afraid that if they were identified, not just that we might come after them, but it could harm them with the local people. and it has come in fact, harm the isis with the local people. there have been uprisings and so forth. much more clever about how to manage that. .. pass
al qaeda even when it's not in their interests locally, is because there's money and resources attached to it as well, and that goes some way to answer if it's an ideology or just an organization. a question over here. >> i'm from turkey. and i'm a consultant and a tourist in d.c. every page of the tour report has good words about turkey, and they're getting it right so i'd like to ask a question regarding the atp. they would like to call their name -- i think it's a coincidence the name aq is spelled like -- there's a connection there, and i read an article on "new york times" march 19th about the wrong
enemy, and in that book, she talks about corporation with u.s. regarding -- is it possible in turkey, as -- did the same thing, also, i would like to -- on the subject of helping turkish intelligence to syrian al qaeda groups in order giving them the russian armament and using chemicals against sir sir sir syrian opposition in order to involve the united states. >> turkey, good ally or not a good ally in the war on terror or al al qaeda or whatever we think it should be. >> so, to continue the ideology
route i've gone down, i should note i began by saying i think it's both an idea -- ideology as well as an organization. so please don't take that as contradicting. my point was simply that even if you don't see signs of organizational connection or proof of this, that doesn't mean this group doesn't have this connection to al qaeda's core objectives and that, therefore, we can ignore them. that actually brings me to your question, which is that when i look at -- i see a connection more toward an ottoman ideology that is a pan-turkic vision and a desire and work with and protect and do things with turkic peoples around the world, and until very recently a connection, therefore to the
ideology of a man named gudan rather than to al qaeda's vision, sort of global jihadist and very, very specific vision of the world, but that's until dish understand there's been some sort of spat between the two. so my reaction to that is to say, just by using the kind of definition i've used -- that doesn't mean that some government in turkey at some point might think that their interests align with a different ideology, but i don't see how that works in the favor of aqis which is committed to the process and security on its borders, specifically where al qaeda is destabilizing everything in a way that is not the national interests of turkey or the party.
so i actually don't think it's in the interest of the party to do business with al qaeda. >> well, i would say that historically insun generalses have been able to -- incentury generalses are able to sustain themselves when they can use borders. syria is a border that is up controlled with iraq and one that is unevenly rolled if the turkey. the movement of foreign fighter is well recognized and the traffic is going through turkey. it's greater intervention, greater cooperation, and helping could to really close off that conduit, which has become critical to sustaining not just the groups in syria that we like, more moderate and secular groups-but also al qaeda to be more discriminate no who is getting aid.
>> former student. my question is, if this jihadist world view is this potent ideology or organization that is able to move throughout the world to ungoverned states which weak institutions, what -- it's almost like a virus spreading. what is the right mixture of preventive medicine from the united states' point of view to manage this, through partner forces, foreign internal defense, what have you? what does that look like, especially in an arab restricted budget. >> a nye way of sneaking in, what is the strategy against al qaeda in five minutes question. i'll let the panel take a swing at and it make whatever final comments they want to because that's a broad enough question. why don't we start with bruce.
>> mary lays out the strategy quite effectively. it's recognizing that al qaeda itself is a strategic animal and can only best be countered by having our own strategy, and it's a strategy that, as we have said ad nauseam for the past 13 years, can't only rely on kip nettics. has to be broader, has to address fundamentally achieving a recalibration, at least in an environment so that it doesn't create successive waves of terrorism, and that's -- discomforting for many people what counter-incentury generals si is all about. >> i think you're going to find the panel largely in accordance with what the broad prescription for a strategy would be. kinetic action is not actually the most pressing issue we face in fighting al qaeda. it's certain lay component of
the strategy. i personally believe we need to underscore mary's conclusion, which is fight the entire al qaeda network has a whole. we have been playing this game of whack-a-mole for 13 years and we'll continue to play it if we only go after those two stick their head up. instead there's a body underneath and that's what has drivens' supported the al qaeda network at large. and that doesn't mean putting american boots on the ground in every territory where al qaeda has a face, but it does mean recognizing al qaeda where it is and developing a strategy and dissecrete policies that undermine the group where it is operating, whether it's addressing legitimate antigovernment grievances or building up local security forces that can hold and control the territory that is sovereign to the state. that's what we're looking at as
a strategy and not going piecemeal after a network that has evolved and adapted over the years. >> i actually don't have much to add to what my colleagues have to say. you can read very broad sorts of things i have to say about the strategy in the paper itself. i think that we do need to have a global strategy that we have to be relying on something other than just attrition, and killing or capturing a set group of people as the way forward, and we have to take into consideration political and governance issues to deal with this problem. >> so, that leaves time we can sneak? one last question. right over here.
>> i am donna. i was a student of professor habeck. in 2012 campaign, president obama stated that leadership in pakistan, al qaeda leadership, was effectively decimated. this was in contrast to intelligence out of pakistan itself there was concerns in our intelligence community of a re-emergence that had gone away after going into the pakistan in 2001. and according to one of our top security experts, the group isn't diminished by drone attacks, which it what misterman is calling the whack-a-mole thing of that's actually adding to the antiamericannism that takes up space from the much needed discussion in pakistan on who the enemy of the state really is. >> i need you to get to a question really quick. >> it's basically, what are your thoughts on the nightmare scenario of al qaeda working
with -- that has successfully carried out attacks in all four provinces, something other groups have not been able to do in pakistan, and the group which general john allen says does exist in afghanistan. how do you feel that might very well be something that we have to grapple with post-2014? thank you. >> this gives me a chance to talk about my next book in 2015, called "attacking america: al qaeda's grand strategy." chapter five deals with the issue of unifying the ranks which is what al qaeda calls croppation of groups to get everyone on the same page ideologically and organizationally. they're very busy in pakistan. groups started off with completely different interests, leadership that might have been opposed to the objectives and
ideology of al qaeda, they're very interested in coopting them into their ranks and working with them in a pragmatic way to put them on the right page, as they put it, and aimed in the right direction. that's what i see happening in pakistan. >> thank you all very much for coming and please join me in thanking our panel. [applause]